App Store Best Practices
In this article you will learn some tricks you can do to stay on top of your apps organization. If your site starts to grow and has a lot of apps (and/or a lot of pages), chances are you may be struggling a little bit to find the right app version while browsing through a long list of apps. This post addresses how to better organize your apps through the App Store in order to keep it nice and clean.
Use the Same Version
The first step to know better when and how to apply this is to understand what are app versions. Basically, you can have instances of the same app in different pages that will share the content. If one of these instances is changed in one page, it will be updated in the rest of them (where that same instance is installed).
There are some apps that may seem logical to reuse throughout your site (in different or all pages). One of them is the Navigation app. Most probably, you’ll want the same navigation menu in all your pages. That way, a visitor can browse through your pages with the same app, which will probably have the same style and position, so the user is familiar with it.
But some others may not be as obvious, like a “call to action” button for users, that will be featured in some, but not all pages.
For this you don’t need to create another app, you can just use the same one. Again, this is only for apps that share the same content. To reuse an existing app version in your current page, you need to identify it on the App Store. Open it and look for the App you are trying to find.
Expand it by clicking on its name. This will show all the available versions (installed and also not installed) of that app.
To install a new version of the app, click and drag the general “Install New” button to your layout.
But If you want to install another, not new but current version, look at the list of apps below the name. Each of them has its own “Install” button. All of these are current versions. Those may or may not be installed in another page.
This is recommended when you want the exact same content in several pages, as opposed to having a growing number of independent app versions (that have the same content).
Note that not all the versions listed may be installed on any given page. All the app versions that you create, are automatically saved in this list. And they are stored there even if you remove them from your layout (by clicking on the X).
And this leads us to the next recommendation, to completely remove an app version from your site.
Remove Unused Apps
Every time you install an app, the version generated is saved in your App Store. And every time you make changes to them. This version is kept, even after you remove it from your layout. Its done this way so that if you delete an app by accident, you can restore it right there. Perhaps you thought you no longer needed it, or perhaps are not sure if you will. So you can get it back from the App Store.
But this also means that you may have a growing list of apps sitting on your App Store that are no longer used. To remove an app version from your site, follow these simple steps.
1. Consider if you really want to remove it. After being positive about the removal:
2. Make sure that app is removed from all your pages. You can do so by going page by page where that app version is installed and clicking on the X (top right of the app). Or, you can skip this manual removal of every page, by following step 3 below. It is advised that you go through every page to make sure that the intended design/layout/content is not affected by this removal.
3. Open the App Store, look for your app, and on the right, hover over the “gear” icon. This will display a sub menu with the option to “Uninstall and Delete App”.
Note: you may not be able to identify right away which app versions are actually used and which don’t. For this purpose we have the “Installed on” icon (depicted by a series of overlapping pages). Hover over it and, if it’s actually used on one or more pages, a list of them will appear right above your mouse icon. Else, a message will appear: “This app is not installed on any page”.
This is specially helpful when you have have a long list of app versions. But also if your site has a lot of pages. Or both. Having a naming convention is good for keeping your edition organization under control. For example, prefix all pages from home page with “home_”, so you may end up with apps named: “home_title”, “home_cta”, “home_tagline”, etc. Or instead of pages, the prefix can refer to the block they’re on like “header_” or “footer_”.
You don’t really need a scientific naming convention. Or a convention of names at all. The most important is that you update the name on each version. Using descriptive names (about the apps content), is the best advise on this matter. As long as you understand and know why and what the naming structure means, it should be enough.
To change the name of any app version, open the App Store and browse for the app you want to update. Hovering over the name will show a surrounding border. Click to edit the name for it.
Use of 2x (Duplicating Apps)
Each app has a “duplicate” button, on the left side of the app toolbar. This button is made for creating a copy, not installing the same version again.
Versions are mean to share the same information/content throughout all installations (on different pages). But when you duplicate an app, it creates another, independent version.
This is helpful when you need an app that looks very much like the original, but that will have different content. It doesn’t matter if changes are small, it is still different content and it needs to be independent.
A common use of this is when you need different blocks of text that refer to different sections. But they should look the same. So you create the first one, style it the way it’s needed, and edit the format of text (typeface, colors, size, etc). Then instead of going through it all again, you just duplicate it and edit the text.
But be aware that duplicating apps left and right might not be always what you want/need. And it may also create a long list of app versions on your App Store. This is why we advise to use it with caution.